Badpuppy Gay Today

Wednesday, 19 February, 1997


by Jack Nichols


Those who have not seen Roger and Me, the largest-grossing documentary of all time, should rent the video. Therein, the brilliant and extraordinarily funny Michael Moore of Flint, Michigan effectively roasts Roger, the CEO of General Motors. Why? America's top company, General Motors, which was for generations Flint's trusty employment perch, decided to downsize Flint operations. Assembly plants closed. There seemed no reason for such downsizing since General Motors had been enjoying hefty profits. Even so, the giant corporation simply pulled out, leaving generations of loyal Flint workers in total shock. The city, to put it mildly, went into extreme disarray. Michael Moore, armed only with his giddy sense of humor, was there to record the sad. unfolding events. Comedy, after all, is tragedy's reverse face.

Moore, whose hilarious series, TV Nation, still enjoys daily re-runs, helped make Moore, perhaps, the oligarchy's most dangerous foe. TV Nation won an Emmy Award in 1995. Unassuming in appearance and a friendly, ordinary American workingman, Moore makes fun of the big business bad guys beyond their wildest expectations. Some believe he deserves to be called the world's greatest ambush journalist. During the height of Newt Gingrich's assumed popularity, for example, Moore nailed the cheesy Speaker of the House at a rally-parade held on Gingrich's own Georgia turf. Arriving early, Moore organized a noisy contingent of Georgia residents who, at Moore's urging, were patriotically ready, as the Speaker had demanded of other Americans, to give up all perks allotted by the U.S. government to their county. With Gingrich constituents marching noisily and proudly behind him, Moore approached the Speaker in the parade, holding a network microphone. "Are you ready to give up all the perks your county gets from the federal government?" he asked Newt.

Newt looked slightly puzzled, but he smiled. "What perks? We don't get any perks." Moore pulled out a lengthy list that fell all the way to the ground and began reading from the top. After Newt had dismissed the first two "perks" as quite necessary and still smiled confidently, Moore asked him about the annual $129,000 received by the county for its Coast Guard. "What's wrong with that?" asked Newt.

"You're a land-locked county," replied Moore non-challantly. The camera zeroed in on Newt's face as the Speaker realized he'd been had. Newt's smile fell into a major tailspin, an expression perfectly, absolutely distraught. He'd been caught with his hand in the federal till and on camera. It was Michael Moore, the ambush journalist, at his best.

Other episodes of TV Nation have shown Moore rescuing Philadelphia bank customers from ridiculously high check-bouncing fees. Accompanied by Crackers, the Corporate Crime Fighting Chicken (a man in a rubber chicken suit) Moore conducted surprise interviews with bank spokespersons across the city. None wanted to address why bouncing fees were almost uniformly $25, when, in fact, the cost of processing such checks was only a few cents. After showing the bankers' obvious consternation over this query, Moore politely invaded a Philadelphia congresswoman's office, begging her to do something. She did, and the bouncing fees that banks charged in Philly were, as a result, much lowered. Moore is a man of happy-go-lucky action.

Moore's first book, Downsize This!, has enjoyed its recent release, climbing quickly on the New York Times bestseller list. Among the hosts of political nuts he cracks without mercy is former Congressman and anti-gay lunatic, Robert Dornan, from Orange County, California. Moore pens a chapter titled "I Try to Commit Bob Dornan," about whom he says that no member of congress, including Enid Waldholtz of Utah or Helen Chenowith from Idaho, is nearly so crazy. "A lot of wackiness, to be sure," he writes, "but nothing that any of them says or does comes close" to Dornan. Dornan, he reminds us, was nicknamed "B-1 Bob" for both his support of the bomber built in his district and for his one-time acting stint on TV's "Twelve O'Clock High" series. "Dornan," according to Downsize This! "has physically assaulted a member of Congress and has threatened the President. He rants like a mad dog on the floor of the House about 'homos' and a 'disloyal, betraying little Jew.' " And, just in case we forget, Moore reminds us that Dornan is also the nephew of Jack Haley, who played the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz.

Other gay and lesbian observations, quoted from the former congressman, show up in Moore's very funny book. About his use of the word "homo" for example, Dornan says: "...homosexual.' To shorten it to 'homo' may have a cruel ring, like shortening 'Japanese' to 'Jap' It worked during the Second World War, it's not considered polite...but use the word." or check this Dornan quote: "Every lesbian spearchucker in this country is hoping I get defeated." And, happily, defeated Dornan was, though, predictably, he refuses to be voted out without first causing an insane ruckus, which he's presently doing.

Moore's other films include Canadian Bacon (an official selection of the 1995 Cannes International Film Festival) and Pets or Meat: The Return to Flint. Nothing but the truth is sacred to Michael Moore, according to the flap on his new book. "Moore," says his publicists, is "everyman's hero" and he "gets under the skin of corporate giants, politicians, lobbyists, and the media---anyone who has made life tougher for the millions of Americans who are working longer hours for less pay and have had enough." Moore, it is said, brings his wit and working class voice to an American public desperate to save what's left of their American dream.

In an episode titled "Would Pat Buchanan Take a Check from Satan?" Moore explains how he sent campaign contributions to presidential political hopefuls, and how, in spite of folks like Bob Dole who returned and then finally accepted a real check from gay Republicans, others shamelessly cashed checks Moore's helpers sent. Dole's campaign, he says, did return two checks for "Satan Worshippers for Dole," and the "John Wayne Gacy Fan Club" check for Perot was returned with a nice letter saying, "We appreciate your generous support and will contact you once the party is established in your state." But homophobic pundit, Pat Buchanan, guiltlessly, took a $75 campaign check from "The John Wayne Gacy Fan Club" as well as a $100 contribution from "Abortionists for Buchanan."

Join Michael Moore's unarmed militia, if you like, by contacting him. His address? Michael Moore

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